Emerald City Comic Con 2022
I did Emerald City Comic Con for the first time! Woo! Totally survived 4-Days, and I'll try my best to record the experience here. For posterity!
First up: the prep work! The was pretty chill the months and weeks leading up to the event. I figured I had enough merch for the table, but I asked a friend, Migley (aka @shhmigles) to share a table with me because, 1) I didn't want to be there alone, and 2) I thought the table cost was steep at $420. We started meeting up Fridays to get prints and magnets ready and just generally talk about the upcoming con. Needless to say, super excited, especially the 2 weeks prior.
I knew people at cons take a bunch of cards from artists' tables, if only for the art, so I designed a business card in such a way that I get 2 cards from 1 if I cut it in half. Cute!
Food magnets were the only new art I did for this event. How I was able to pull of 9 designs in a couple of weeks, I'll never know. Sheer willpower, I suppose.
So anyhoo! Fast forward to the day before ECCC (Wed/Aug17), where exhibitors are supposed to come in, get their badges, and setup their tables for the next day. The unfortunate news I got in the morning was my tablemate got Covid. Devastating news for her, for sure. :(
Drove to Seattle with my display materials and merchandise in tow.
And relished the feel of an empty Artist Alley and a few artists setting their displays up. Some shots I remembered to take:
The blanket I used as a table cover came from my good friend, Iska. She's a member of the Ifugao and loaned me the Ifugao blanket for use in the convention. I thought it was an amazing touch to the table! My display kinda looking ganky right now, and I realized I didn't have a name plate on the front. I made a note to bring some stuff from home. Namely:
1) Figure out some way to put my name on the front of the table.
2) Elevate the books on display so they stand out.
3) Get the stickers rearranged somehow.
This is me on the first day
I decided to elevate the books, by bringing wooden boxes from home, and this is how I put my name out front. I printed out my name and basically spruced up the official con table name plate. I would have used it, but unfortunately, Migley's name was on it, and they put my name instead of JmePaints.
I don't know what I was thinking when I dressed that morning. But the blouse I'm wearing apparently looks gramma, or at least, mom. Plus, I had my hair up in a bun, and wearing glasses. More on that later.
Some accessories I feel like I should mention - an egg and toast polymer clay charm necklace my daughter made me, and an Ifugao ling ling-o pendant from Iska. I like to think these things gave me goodluck. And of course, an N95 MASK.
As expected for a Thursday. Moderately slow, but I think I got a decent amount to show for it, in that I made back table at around the half day mark. So whew. That's a huge anxiety off my chest, for sure. The amount of people jarred me, as I haven't been in a huge crowd indoors since before the pandemic. But I figure Thursday would be a good day to ease me into the bigger crowds that would come in on the weekend.
My table neighbor, MicheleDraws, turned out to be super nice, and we were good friends by the end of the day. We had dinner at the lobby of her hotel.
Friday was supposedly a heavier crowd, but I think I still did decently. One of the highlights of the day (probably the event) was a couple of lovely ladies from Netflix stopped by my table and bought a book. So that's awesome.
Plus a gentleman from GenCon gave me a card and I guess invited me to exhibit at GenCon the next year? I'm not confident I'm a fit for that crowd, since it's a TTRPG event, but since I don't want to travel anyway, seems moot.
Also a recommendation to approach Wing Luke Museum, so I'm putting that on my Priority List.
Probably the best part of ECCC will be the Netflix, GenCon, and Wing Luke recommendations. Happy to report that sales were still good, especially since I took my friend, Danie's advice and allowed attendees to purchase stickers and prints in singles instead of packaging them in sets. Halo-halo, taho, and lumpia magnets are very low in stock!
I did a kinda-cosplay of Death today. With an added ling ling-o and minus the eye squiggle. Funny story, the eyeliner pencil I brought with me BROKE as finished applying eyeliner to ONE eye. I don't think I did a good job rubbing it off, so I probably looked like I had a black eye the rest of the day. Sigh.
A LOT of books and book bundles moved today, especially with con-goers who were there with their parents. Met a few cool Filipinos and definitely spent some time talking story. Tried a thing with a sign I had out front with the book:
For an introvert who wants to make sales, this is simultaneously a really good and a really bad idea. But totally works, I think.
Sales were the best out of all 4 days. I had low stock the day before, so I had to bring the last box of books over to WSCC in the morning. I had a difficult time lugging a 20lb box of books up to the 6th floor, I can tell you that. Spent some time in the morning packaging books and bundles. I think part of the reason I did so well today was because I had the (sorta) Death costume on. I looked reasonably enough like Death that people would come over, but without the eye squiggle, people would NOT take photos. It works out! Plus, I figure I was a lot friendlier with the Death persona as an additional barrier.
Noteworthy event: A Filipina lady slightly older than me came over to the table and said she was ready to buy the book bundle now, as she had been thinking about it since Monday. She mentioned that it was my "mom" at the table on Monday, and she was glad to meet the artist. Um. Yeah. My mom. For reference, I was wearing a painted blouse (now that I look at it, it does kinda look something a grandma would wear), my hair up in a bun, and glasses. As opposed to my Death (kinda) cosplay of blank tank top, hair loose, no glasses. I camouflage'd!
Ah, the last day of Emerald City Comic Con 2022. Instead of Arnel and the kids driving me to WSCC and picking me up, I had to drive the white car early in the morning to Seattle to avail of the before-7am Early Bird Rate. I was able to have breakfast and a chat with Michele at the Starbucks Reserve, which was a super nice. Starbucks Reserve is the only place where I can get Dark Chocolate Mocha coffee, so that a good te
Did okay, sales-wise. Was able to run down to Exhibitor's Alley on the 4th floor to get my Monsters and Dames book signed and go around Artist Alley to grab some books and pins I wanted. Wish I could've made friends, but I guess I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to my table. Last day and all, hoping to dispose of all the books.
I still think I did pretty steady sales today. A lot of books and book bundles were sold to people who took a day or so to decide. Or were probably waiting for me to lower prices for the last day - sorry, no dice. I live locally and I don't have to fly all that stuff anywhere.
ECCC ended 2 hours earlier than their usual time, but I decided to pack up 20min beforehand, to get ahead of the rush towards the elevators, and the rush of cars going out of the parking lot. Plus, I was tired and ready to head home.
I celebrated by eating duck (the next day, so I could fully enjoy it).
POST ECCC THOUGHTS:
1) I thought I did pretty well sales-wise. I heard from some of the others in my Discord group that they were pretty disappointed with their sales. Which got me wondering if maybe my bar was way lower than theirs. To be fair, I did not expect to do well, really, and accepted the ECCC AA table because it's something I want to check off my bucket list. That, and getting into Monsters & Dames art book.
2) I was in a pretty sweet spot, to be perfectly honest.
It's on the corner, which means I have traffic coming at me from 4 directions!
3) My art in the Monsters & Dames art book meant that people were constantly coming over to my table, if only to just get their book signed. I figured out a nifty little trick, wherein I'd sign the book and if the attendee offered an "Oh I love your art in the book!" I'd follow up with "Would you like to see the original concept for it?" and all of them have replied sure. I'd show them the Familiars & Witches Zine, which has the original Truffles the pig painting in it, and I did make a few Familiars & Witches zine sales that way.
4) Not a few people have asked me if I usually do conventions or events since they have not seen me before / this is the first time they've seen me. So I figure a part of my success at this event is because I'm definitely new and my art is decidedly not something you'd typically see at a pop culture convention.
5) Following #4, the reason I don't do a lot of conventions is because engaging with strangers is not my favorite thing in the world to do. I think I do about the same amount of sales online all year round, with the added benefit of NOT talking to people. I feel like my art needs to be talked up, plus a lot of my merch needs explanations (ie. the Creatures of PH Myth sticker sheets come with a free info sheet, but that's not something I can explain to everyone who passes by my table. And people take 2 seconds to look, so they need to be able to process things FAST!)
6) Still following #4, I can say that doing events in-person was a great way to network with people. Aside from Netflix and GenCon, a number of people came by saying they were connected with this org or that, and one recommending I approach Wing Luke Museum. So, if not for the sales, I think doing events in-person is great for networking.
7) Filipino culture sells very well. I was pretty happy I sold 30 books and book bundles, plus sold out of 3 of the 9 magnets, with very low stock left. I really like seeing people's faces light up when they spot something familiar on my table, and immediately buy it, or run off and come back bringing friends or parents with them.
8) My table partner, Migley, came down with Covid the day of the setup, so I ended up getting the full table to myself. While I'm sorry she was not able to be at ECCC, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise (sorry, Migs), as I was able to really make use of the full size to spread out my items nicely and people were able to take their time looking. I don't think I could have done as well as I did (sales-wise) if I had a half table. Moving forward, I'm going for full tables instead of splitting with someone.
9) I'm personally not a huge fan of prints. If you like them, great, but I think most people have limited wall space for prints, and probably just keep them in binders. But that's precisely why I buy collected art books and zines. I get more art from the artist that way, and they sit nicely on my shelf. I had a few prints on my table, but only because I felt like I needed some to be there. I like selling them as sets, too, but my friend Danie recommended I sell them individually. Which I did after the last day, and I was able to move a few small prints that way. The bigger 9x12s had quite a bit of traction.
10) Following #9, judging by how well my table neighbor was selling her prints, I figure that people like their prints to fill up the space (i.e. less white space, the better).
11) Are mushrooms trending these days? There was a LOT of mushroom costumes roaming around and my table neighbor had mushroom stickers on her table which were selling fast. I even got one!
I wasn't able to get all the merch I wanted, but here's my small ECCC haul.
Books from @michelecdraws, @harmonygong, @paulamarilo. Washi tapes from @rhododoodle. Enamel pin from @christadoodles. Stickers from @mestizamakes, @emilyfiegenschuh, @michelecdraws. An acrylic charm omamori from @enerjax (been wanting this one forever!)
Emerald City Comic Con was a BLAST and an amazing experience. I probably would want to do it again, but maybe not consecutive years. The engaging with people part is really taxing, and it's something I don't really need to do to make sales. Maybe I'll try KawaiiKon next year.